This is Chapter 3 of a 5-part narrative where I revisit my search of optimum health through diet, and how I found it in animal foods. It’s not meant to abide to a particular group or “movement”, nor is it meant to preach.
What it does emphasize is the value of good quality meat for hormonal health and strength, and how deliberate food/calorie restriction is counter productive to happiness and fitness.
In chapter 3, I recall how raw milk became my elixir. I started lifting twice a day, and wanted to face the camera.
The Frankfurt Road to Recovery: Back to Meat
The next day I decided to increase my meal frequency to two – ground meat with extra fat ground in and some liver; it felt deeply satiating and my body was warming up, but I noticed my waist expanding like a balloon after a few days of just 4-5 meals. It wasn’t bloating or distension, just water retention and a bit of flab. I was petrified and ashamed.
You see I would accept many months later that my hormones were all skewed up after 2 whole years of chronic food deprivation; my insulin and blood sugar were probably in pre-diabetic area after a proper meal, and crashing hard afterwards – causing such debilitating thirst that no amount of water could quench it.
Not to forget how elevated my adrenaline and stress hormones were at that point; I started experimenting with several cups of coffee to create a diuretic effect, was at work during the day, then doing my A1-A2 levels in German in the evenings and over the weekend.
There are few things in life as horrible as being unable to quench your thirst – despite having a belly distended with water, and lacking place for more.
Christmas Eve 2018? I had a big meat meal and crashed so hard afterwards from the BS and insulin rush (plus salt; I’d eaten a massive plate of Doner meat because I ran out of stock), the overconsumption of water and a distended belly – that I passed out.
I was miserable – I’d have rather died by starvation than watch my body get fat temporarily on its way to good health. Absolutely delusional and brain damaged, I started consulting a spiritual advisor by the name of Clemens Blattert at Sankt Georgen.
He more listened to my issues rather than steer me in any direction; helped me perceive the signs my body was giving me rather than force it to do something against nature. “Being a monk is not about restricting and torturing yourself; you can also be a monk in action.”
A monk in action; I had to do something. A change that I would have to commit to come what may; I took a trip to the Taunus hills here in Frankfurt for the weekend, ate nothing but a loaf of bread in the evenings (my stomach didn’t like that), and wandered the grassy plains in search of perspective.
For a few weeks after I was jumping back and forth between eating meat and restricting; some days I would stick to protein powders and chicken breasts to get rid of the flab/water retention, others I would succumb to proper fatty meat.
Why was I avoiding meat? I was twisted enough to think that because eating more (especially fatty meat) no longer let me stay super skinny, eating was bad. This wasn’t about religion/spirituality anymore, I was lying to myself and I was in denial.
My body was clearly fighting me stronger than ever before; the restriction was now only making things worse (making my waist wider from all the cortisol rather than smaller), and I was giving in to meat despite my best efforts.
Fuck it, I was going to bite the bullet of all the meat my body needed. I put an end to my spiritual “quest” and visits to Sankt Georgen.
The Frankfurt Road to Recovery: Vonderplanitz
I was very confused for the early months of 2019. I started massively varying the kinds of meat I was eating – I ate every animal and their organs I could get my hands on: liver, spleen, kidneys, testicles, supplemented with loads of raw fat I’d asked my local Turkish butcher to save for me every time they got in a freshly slaughtered animal.
At least I’d accepted by then that fat was essential; but my stomach had turned into a pit, and no amount of meat would satisfy me. I wouldn’t really feel “hungry”, but when I did start eating, I would do like no tomorrow.
I quickly went up to 3-4 kilos of meat a day spread out across 3 meals; I varied between cooked and raw to see what felt best, and wanted to trust that continuing to eat just meat and drink water would let everything fall into place. But the thirst and water retention were debilitating and affecting my ability to reason.
At least I was sure that raw meat felt and digested the best.
This led me to look up the anecdotal experiences of other “carnivores”; I’d read The Fat of The Land, the words of The Bear, those popular success stories of the Zero Carb community – but nothing quite resonated with me or applied to my situation or discomfort.
These initial months of eating with abandon also had me in a lot of physical pain; my joints ached all day, my whole body was stiff, and I’d developed night sweats. I also wanted to nap after every meal or rather, sleep all day.
I managed to stay super sharp and active (albeit not very interactive outside my team) at work, but on the weekends? I’d go out to stock up on meat and fat, and spend all Saturday – Sunday lying on the floor of my 14-story high studio apartment.
All part of my metabolism struggling to ramp up, and what I read then was typical of recovery from starvation/anorexia.
It was then I started looking deeper into the works of Frank Tufano and Gatis (Sv3rige) on YouTube; all the conflicting opinions and differences in experiences only added to my confusion; and why wouldn’t they be different?
What I did take away from Gatis’ videos though was the name Aajonus Vonderplanitz; Vonderplanitz was apparently an alternative nutritionist that had been advocating a diet of raw animal foods, supplemented by vegetable juices and fruits at specific times.
This was not to lose weight or “get ripped” in the typical sense. His approach was more holistic – everyone should go through cycles of fat gain and fat loss to eliminate years of toxicity and ill health, given how fat in the human body is one of the primary reservoir of toxins.
I decided to unlearn everything I had about nutrition over the past few years, and begin from scratch by reading We Want to Live:
- After several interactions with the Primal Diet community, many members of which had actually consulted with Vonderplanitz in his lifetime, I learned that one of the contributing factors to my post-meal thirst was the inability to digest meal very well.
- I addressed this by first adding raw, full-fat milk to my diet. Not only is unpasteurized milk recommended as a good source of protein and energy in the absence of meat, but it also obviously helps in gaining weight.
- The raw milk was a gamechanger; before long, I found myself wanting to hit the weight room in the gym for the first time in a year. And I did it not once, but twice a day, seven days a week. I would sip on milk whenever thirsty (barely drank any water) and graze on raw meat and eggs during the day; a glass of full-fat milk with a teaspoon of honey before bed also helped me sleep.
- My weight routine was a simple push, pull, legs one with emphasis on barbell work.
- I put on weight rapidly, much of which was naturally fat. But for the first time in my life, I had accepted that I had to get fat for the moment, heal, and then lose it later. I settled in for the long haul – bought bigger clothes and decided that if my waist wasn’t going to get any narrower soon, I was going to widen my chest, shoulders, back and legs.
- I went through great efforts trying to source raw, unpasteurized milk from quality farms in the vicinity of Frankfurt. Thankfully at the time, Brot & Butter were bringing in fresh, full—fat raw milk every Tuesday or so – which I’d buy 3-4L of every week.
- In parallel, I’d started drinking fresh vegetable juices and adding raw unheated honey and pineapple to my meat meals to make up for the weak stomach acid.
- In a matter of 4 months I’d gone up from 48 KG to 85 KG – the heaviest I’d been in my life. A lot of it was muscle, a lot of it was fat – but I looked stronger than I’d ever been.
- My peers were taken aback by how quickly I had “bulked up”. Amusingly, a few began asking if I was taking any “extra help” in the form of PEDs.
- My libido and confidence had gone up, no doubt because of the rise in testosterone levels. I was interacting with people a lot more now.
I found myself less “thirsty” than before.
The Frankfurt Road to Recovery: Team Halbig
In the month of March, 2019, Steffen Halbig – a colleague and fitness enthusiast himself – had noticed my rapid bulk and suggested I join one of his evening group fitness sessions at the gym I was frequenting.
Steffen and his wife Filiz had formed Team Halbig as an umbrella for a variety of group fitness courses offered in Frankfurt’s gyms, back in 2016.
He did two courses back to back at the gym I frequented on a Thursday evening; one was a full-body bodyweight/lightweight workout called TH-Fit, the other a spin-off of Les Mills’ BodyCombat course called TH-Combat. I tried TH-Fit for the first time and realized how incredibly out of cardiovascular shape and inflexible I was from just lifting weights twice a day.
Deciding that my cardio and mobility needed work, I became a regular at TH-Fit and TH-Combat; I also saw it as an opportunity to finally meet other women, not going to lie. Right enough, I did make my first friend outside work at TH-Fit, who would end up making me try all the other group fitness courses on offer.
I got into programs like BodyFit, BodyPump, Zumba (STRONG and basic), and even Yoga; I’d do two of these, back to back for a couple of hours in the evening, on top of my weightlifting session in the morning.
On Friday nights, if I was feeling it, I’d even go up to three hours.
I also started taking care of my dressing/appearance and had developed my own sense of fashion to complement the weather. Vain as we all are though, I was still not happy with the way I looked and felt (being so heavy).
I reached a point where I felt that I’d regained my ability to digest meat properly (sometime around the start summer of 2020); the milk started to feel unnecessary and habitual.
I stopped the raw milk, and stuck to raw meat. The occasional vegetable juice, fruits like pineapple, and unheated honey were still part of my diet.
I lost a few kilograms in a matter of a month of two, about 5 KG, and decided to get myself in front of a camera.
Modelling had always been something that interested me as a hobby, and now that I was in Germany where there was actually opportunity (and time) for that, I decided to try my hand at it.
I think if I was completely honest though – I really saw it as a means to overcome my body dysmorphia. I had a few photographs taken for a Sed Card and collaborated with Berlin-based indie photographer Benjamin Egerland on a photoshoot one sunny day; the photos were alright, but more importantly, I was learning to accept the way I looked.
The Frankfurt Road to Recovery: Revisiting Familiy
In the summer of 2019, I decided to surprise my family with a 3-day visit to Doha. The last time they’d seen me, I was a 49KG shadow of a man; a year later, I was barely recognizable. Some of the things they noticed:
- I was of course more muscular and stronger, but also seemed to have gained a couple inches in height. That was true, I didn’t remember having to look down at them so much.
- My skin now showed a dark red hue of blood that I’d never had before.
- My personality had changed for the better; I was much more confident, loud and jovial than I’d ever been. Larger than life, I think, is what my sister was trying to imply.
Seeing as all this confirmed in them that whatever I was doing at that point, raw meat and such, was obviously helping, they had no more arguments to make.